So, this is the first tea I have ever gone to and I was so honored to be asked to speak at it as well. So here is a write up of what I said. I hope you enjoy it. I got so many kind words. I was so nervous. Thank you all for being so supportive and allowing me to just share a little bit of what I feel like God has been doing in my life over the last few months. :-
* * *
Metamorphosis – the type of change that God brings from the inside out
- Peace – of His Will
- Strength – of walking in His presence
- Joy – of living above your circumstances
Good morning ladies,
I am so glad that so many of you could join me this morning at this very special event. This is actually my first tea and I feel so blessed to be able to share it with each of you.
I was reall honored and nervous when a little over a month ago I was asked to speak for today’s event. So far in my life, I have only been asked to speak three times. Once for 8th grade graduation and two weddings. One being my own.
I was really excited about being given the opportunity to share just a fraction of what has been going on in my life. What I feel God has been doing.
And even God can be sneaky that way. A week ago, I had a completely different mroute in mind for this message, but over the last few days, God has been working on my life and heart and some entirely new things have come up.
The first being Metamorphosis or change. That is what I feel this year’s Women’s Retreat is really about. And I am not talking about the simple change. Like a change in your diet or work out routine. I am talking about the powerful, awe-inspiring, humbling change that only God can bring about in your life.
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
This is not an easy change to go through. At least that is how I have always felt about it.
Throughout my life I have always been a “checklist girl” or a “milestone achiever.” It is made school come so easy to me. I saw the steps, broke them down, and worked each one down to the final solution.
Let me tell you, a relationship with God does not work that way! There are no checklists, steps, or milestones! It is a relationship! And here I was trying to work it out like a math problem!
In the last six months, I just remember being so terribly frustrated. Crying out to God, trying to work a problem…with NO STEPS! NO TOOLS! No way, in my eyes, of moving forward. No one that I could see.
And I couldn’t see. I could not see the little things that God was doing in my life. I couldn’t see the people sharpening me. I couldn’t see these little conversation for what they were; God’s tender nudging and sharpening.
I have stage four colon cancer. That’s a BIG deal. It is a BIG thing. Everything else had been BIG. Why wouldn’t change be BIG? Why wouldn’t what God wanted to do in my life be just as BIG as what I felt the cancer had already destroyed and taken from me?
Again, God doesn’t work that way. At least not for me. Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” I did not realize how God was shaping me through all of these little moments with people. Isaiah ges on to say, “Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.”
God was changing me, but I couldn’t see it. I had to have faith in the process. I had to put my trust in Him. Over the net few months my constant prayer was, “Lord, help me keep my hands open and lifted to You, so that I might receive the blessings and provision You want to bestow upon me.”
It was a struggle for me. It was something I went to my husband with. He supported me whole heartedly. He constantly reminded me that we needed to put this in God’s hands. We needed to put it all with God. Our worries, fears, hopes, dreams, hearts. Just keep them lifted.
Brings me to my next thought. For all I wasn’t seeing, God was sure doing a lot around me. Each day I would have people come up to me and express how much I had inspired them. How I had changed their views on life or prayer or their studying of God’s Word. My simple response: “It’s not me. It’s God.”
It was the only thing I had. And I truly believed it. I wasn’t doing anything to change these people. God was shinning though me to change them. I just wanted to be out of the way and let Him do it.
In fact, those words became all the more real to me at the beginning/end of this last month while sitting in the pharmacy line after being discharged from the ER at midnight.
Long story short: I had had dinner with some girlfriends that evening. We had planned the night a month in advance so that we could catch up after not being able t see each other for so long. Dinner was delicious and the company was pleasant. As the evening progressed, I discovered that I had a growing pain and a building numbness in my left hip. I figured I was getting tired, so I excused myself and went home.
On the ride home the pain just kept building and by the time I hit my door in Bethel Island I was hysterical with pain. Sobbing and screaming. Christopher quickly packed me into his car and off to the ER we went.
After getting pain meds, an hour long MRI, X-rays and finding out that I had a tumor in my hip the size of a golf ball, my day was pretty much spent. I just remember thinking, “Okay God, where do we go from here?”
I looked over at my poor husband, who wanted nothing more in this world than to comfort me and take away all my pain. He was sitting there at a complete loss for what to do. Because what could he do? There was nothing to do about this. It just was.
And seeing that utterly broken look on his face, him knowing that there was nothing he could do….I just remember being at peace. That and wishing that I could bring some fraction of that peace to him. He had been such and rock and support to me through all of this time. And looking at him then, knowing that he needed me, I began to speak.
I told him that this new thing did not surprise me. In fact, I saw it as an answer to prayer. Over the last month, we had been praying for God to remove any and all distractions in our lives so that we could better focus on Him. And here God was doing just that.
So often I feel like those prayers are focused on removing things in the spiritual realm or entertainment fields. I feel like we forget that physical things can also be a distractions from God.
I told my husbad God was answering my prayer. He was pointing out a distraction, something that was turning me away from God. He was also giving me a battle plan and letting me know that I would NOT be going through this alone. God was letting me know that He was going to be right there, fighting next to me, each and every step of the way!
How powerful is that? To know that God is on your side and that he is promising to fight with you, battle beside you and never leave? How awe-inspiring and humbling. How peaceful and encouraging to know this!
Jeremiah 29:11 states, “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
What can you say beyond that? Plans not just for hope but for a FUTURE!
I began to minister to my husband, speaking words and not even realizing in that instant how those words would become so true over the next few weeks.
I told him, “I cannot get out of bed each day, I cannot complete an action, go to work, or make a phone call without God. There is nothing in my day that I do not do without Him. He makes my entire day possible.”
Sure this hip thing is “bad,” but I feel like I already knew it was there. I am at peace with it. I know it is not the drugs that is making this any easier to handle. I know that it is God’s Peace. He is here with us. Guiding us, strengthening us. We just have to press into Him. And keep pressing into Him. He wants to take care of us. We just have to let Him.
Speaking those words into life just made them all the more real and true over the next few weeks. I remember being in the office, having to coordinate all my new doctors’ appointments, but also having to keep up with my Administrative duties on top of it. I just had this overwhelming and humbling experience of the peace that God was right there with me in that office. He was taking each step with me and I knew I never wanted to walk away from that!
With that kind of peace comes strength. I felt God’s presence and peace in that office and because of it I felt like I had the strength to do anything! I wanted to be that peculiar people God calls us to be. I wanted to share this peace and strength with anyone that I could. Throughout the next few weeks, I accomplished goals. I wasn’t afraid to pray with people or talk about my faith. In fact, I would go out of my way to tell people about the peace I had found in His presence. I was reaching out to people!
Sure there were “bad” things that still happened in my life. It not like someone waves a magic wand over your life and suddenly all of your problems suddenly evaporate and you just bask in this glow of bliss. That is not how this works. The bad things are still there, but it feels like they are down here, while I am walking with God up here. He has me in His hands and, I don’t know about you, but that is where I want to stay. It brings so much joy!
Diana Dobbie hit the nail on the head this week when she told me, “It’s called living above your circumstances.” How right she is!
And that is a joy I never want to leave. And I hope that through speaking today that I have been able to just share even the smallest fraction of God’s peace, strength, joy and metamorphic change with you.
Thank you all so much for allowing me to be your speaker today. You have truly blessed me by allowing me to share just this small amount of what I feel God is doing in my life. Thank you!